16mm Merlin - Hunslet Sierra Leone
In 1898 The Sierra Leone Government Railways, operating in the (then) British colony in West Africa, took delivery of its first 2-6-2 tank engine, built by Hunslet. The railway was built to 2’6" gauge, which was unusual for a national railway. The locomotive proved so successful that a total of 32 of them were ultimately built for the railway, the last two in 1954. A similar locomotive, Russell, was built for the Welsh Highland Railway.
The Sierra Leone Government Railways were finally closed in 1974, at which time there were still five steam locomotives in operation, along with four diesels. One of the Sierra Leone locomotives, Nº 85, is preserved in Britain on the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway. It is this engine that Merlin has reproduced in miniature.
Merlin’s model is a fair representation of this attractive prototype. It has some unusual and innovative features.
This engine was designed by Colin Cooper, son of Tom. The body of the locomotive, including smokebox, side tanks, and cab, lifts off the working chassis as a single unit, being held in place only by gravity. This engine is radio controlled, as were all of Merlin’s engines of this type. The electronics and batteries are carried in the right side tank. The large butane tank is housed in the left.
This particular example is in need of some TLC, a good clean up and likely replacement of the RC system with a more modern equivalent as there is some corrosion in the battery compartment of the controller. The engine itself has been tested on air and moves freely and well, the electrical RC side is untested.
A really unusual offering, we see these Merlin engines rarely and they are always very well liked.
PRICE: £995 (Sold)
Builder Merlin Locomotive Works (UK)
Date built Circa 1983
Gauge 1 (45mm)
Boiler Single flue
Fittings Safety valve, pressure gauge
Blow-off pressure 40 psi
Cylinders Two, double-acting piston-valve
Reversing gear Dummy Walschaerts
Weight 10 lbs., 8 oz.
Dimensions Length over end beams, 12"; width, 4-3/8"; height, 6-5/8"